Friday 30 September 2016

Tunisia: Irish tour operators suspend holiday programmes

No outbound flight on July 3

Published 01/07/2015 | 14:59

SOUSSE, TUNISIA - JUNE 30: A woman looks at flowers laid on Marhaba beach in Sousse, where 38 people were killed in last Fridays terror attack on June 30, 2015 in Sousse, Tunisia. Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images
SOUSSE, TUNISIA - JUNE 30: A woman looks at flowers laid on Marhaba beach in Sousse, where 38 people were killed in last Fridays terror attack on June 30, 2015 in Sousse, Tunisia. Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images
Flowers laid on the beach near the RIU Imperial Marhaba hotel in Sousse, Tunisia, as British holidaymakers defy the terrorists and continue to stay in Sousse despite the bloodbath on the beach. Steve Parsons/PA Wire
A Tunisian beach. File photo: Deposit

Sunway and Just Sunshine have suspended their Tunisia charters in the wake of Friday's terrorist attack, the Irish tour operators have announced.

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The suspension of their weekly flight schedule from Dublin to Monastir starts with the next flight scheduled to depart - this Friday, July 3.

The decision to suspend its programme was taken "due to the current uncertain situation" in Tunisia, Sunway said in a statement.

Its Tunisia holidays are suspended "until the situation is clarified".

The return flight on Friday July 3 from Monastir to Dublin will go ahead as scheduled, however - meaning its holidaymakers on the ground can return home as planned.

Customers that have booked to travel with Sunway to Tunisia are now being offered a choice between a full refund of monies paid, or an alternative Sunway holiday.

For prices higher than originally paid, any additional cost will be incurred by the customer. If the price is lower, Sunway will refund the difference, it says.

Similar offers are being offered to Just Sunshine customers.

"As always, our customers are our priority and we appreciate that this may be a disappointment to them," Sunway added.

The decision likely spells the end of Tunisia as a direct package holiday destination for Irish holidaymakers in 2015.

"It's hard to imagine the companies will reinstate the flights this summer," Martin Skelly, President of the Irish Travel Agents Association, told The Irish Independent.

"Consequently, there will be zero Irish holidaymakers travelling to the country this summer on direct services from Ireland."

Sunway expressed its sincere condolences to the families of Lorna Carty, Laurence Hayes and Martina Hayes, the three Irish holidaymakers killed in last Friday's terrorist attack.

The company continues to work closely with the Department of Foreign Affairs, reps in Tunisia and other relevant parties.

Following last Friday's attack on Marhaba beach in Sousse, the Department of Foreign Affairs has advised travellers to "exercise extreme caution" in Tunisia.

It has stopped short of declaring travel to be unsafe, however.

Sunway's dedicated Tunisia helpline is 01 231-1805.

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